Tuberous nasturtium, an ornamental and vegetable plant

Tuberous nasturtium, an ornamental and vegetable plant

Tuberose nasturtium: flamboyance in the garden and on the plate!

The tuberous nasturtium is in the same family as the annual nasturtium, but it is perennial. It is at the same time a magnificent plant of the ornamental gardens, with its large number of flowers, the tuberous nasturtium is very surprising with its bright red colored stems which bear yellow-orange flowers similar to a multitude of small flames and whose petiole leaf attaches to the blade in the middle.

We know less, but the tuberous nasturtium is also a vegetable. An ancient vegetable even from South America, Peru, Bolivia ... Like the potato and like the oca from Peru.
It is a vegetable plant, like the tuberous chervil, the tuber as the young flowers can be cooked. Usually the tubers are cooked in a pan, sautéed in bacon with onions, or / or mushrooms.
The tubers are fleshy, irregular, bumpy cone-shaped. They can be white as in the photo, or yellowish, reddish with sometimes areas reaching purple.

Botanical name:

Tropeaolum tuberosum

Plant type:

Family : Tropaeolaceae, Tropaeolaceae
• Cycle: Perennial
• Hardiness: Rustic
Foliage : Obsolete
Exposure : Sun
• Harbor : Vine
• Rooting: Tuber
• Origin: South America
• Toxicity: no


Easy to live with, tuberous nasturtium tolerates the cold, unlike annual nasturtium, down to -12 °. But it may be relevant to cover them with a carpet of dead leaves to protect them from the winter months, especially for the departments located in the north. It will develop better year after year when protected.

Benefits to the garden

Easygoing with a sunny exposure, tuberose nasturtiums feel good and grow quickly. Ideal for dressing a fence, they can reach about 2 meters in height. You can also let them run on the ground and take possession of the premises.

The roots are cooked in water, like carrots or potatoes, it seems to be a particularly fine vegetable. It's up to you to taste!

Flowering of tuberous nasturtium:

Tuberous nasturtiums have a medium long flowering period, mainly during the summer months.
• Flowering in July and August

Description of tuberous nasturtium

Climbing nasturtium, with bright green foliage, with mat and rounded leaves, of different sizes from 3 to 8 cm, elongated flowers, of an almost vermilion orange with bright yellow lips which gives it this electric "girlande" aspect .

Gardener's Info

The tubers are freezing at very low temperature. As a precaution, do not hesitate to take a few tubers at the end of the season in order to keep them dry, you can then transplant them in the spring.

What soil?

• Light, cool and humus soil.

When to plant nasturtium tubers

• In spring, in April and May.

How to plant tuberous nasturtium?

• Prepare the ground, without turning it over.
• Plant the tubers 10 to 15 cm deep.
• Space them 70 cm in all directions.
• When the plants reach 20 cm.
• Bump the feet.

Info from the amateur gardener:
The soil can be mulched because it must remain cool. Good ground cover will keep the soil moist, especially in warmer areas.

When to harvest tuberous nasturtium?

• At least 6 to 7 months after planting, from October to November, just before the severe frosts. Tuberization begins with the onset of the shortest summer days.

How to keep them?

• In a dry place. Keep them in a silo, in very dry sand.

Other varieties:

They are not found in our regions. But in South America, other species are cultivated:
• Tropeaolum patagonicum (Argentina, Chile)
• Tropeaolum polyphyllium (Argentina, Chile)

Agrees with

In the ornamental garden:
• A mixture of climbing annual nasturtiums that will allow you to flower earlier in the season. Do not hesitate to thin out if necessary to promote the development of the tuberous nasturtium.
• Or with sweet peas and ipomeas, choose a shade of blue to create a nice color contrast thanks to the complementarity of the colors.

In the vegetable garden:
No enemy. Respect the crop rotation. 3 years before coming back in place.

With or without a garden ...

In the garden :
Along a fence, on a fence, the tuberous nasturtium requires tutoring.
Pot :
Tuberose nasturtiums accept very well to be planted in pots, we prefer an unglazed terracotta pot. Remember to protect the pot in winter.

Tuberous nasturtium (Tropaeolum tuberosum), a delicious tuber

We know the nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) for its magnificent orange flowers which adorn the garden and which are edible, but we must rediscover the tuberous nasturtium which is, for its part, specially cultivated to be cooked. It is a perennial but as it is not hardy, it is grown as an annual.

It is its pearly white or orange-yellow all bumpy tubers that we consume, however, although it is less floriferous than its dwarf or perennial cousins, it can perfectly adorn a fence or any support on which it will hang. thanks to its tendrils. The flowers are much smaller: they have orange petals at the end of a red calyx and the leaves are substantially identical to those of ornamental nasturtiums except that they are cut more to detach the 5 lobes.

In the kitchen, you will taste the flowers of tuberous nasturtium with a spicy and sweet taste, in the same way as those of common nasturtium. The leaves can also be added to a mixed salad. Regarding the tubers, cook them in water, they then lose the spiciness they have when they are raw and offer a flavor that ranges from liquorice to fennel, passing by anise or even a note of violet. But you can also add them raw, grated, to raw vegetables, as a condiment.

  • Family: Tropaeolaceae
  • Type: perennial cultivated as an annual
  • Origin: Peru
  • Color: orange yellow flowers
  • Sowing: yes
  • Cutting: no
  • Planting: spring
  • Flowering: end of August
  • Height: up to 2 m

Tuberous nasturtium

Flowers and tubers of tuberous nasturtium. peganum / Jean-Marc Muller
  • Latin name: Tropæolum tuberosum.
  • Botanical family: Tropæloaceae.


  • Origin: The tuberous nasturtium is native to South America (Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador). It was introduced to Europe in the 19th century in an attempt to diversify tubers in the face of potato hegemony. Without much success.

  • Main Varieties: Only the species is cultivated in Europe.

  • Characteristics: By its tubers, it is a perennial, but it is cultivated as an annual in our climate. It is a climbing plant that can reach 1.5m, with many thin stems that is quite similar to ornamental nasturtiums. Its tubers are top-shaped, bumpy, cream to yellowish in color, dotted with purplish streaks. The appearance is appetizing and pleasant. It is cultivated for its tubers, but flowers, leaves, buds and seeds are also eaten.

  • Hardiness: Fears frost and drought.


  • Soil: Reserve a warm, rich and well-loosened soil for it.

  • Exposure: Very sunny.

  • Sowing / planting: The only effective method is to start from the tubers. Put them in place at the end of April, about 10 cm deep, and 40 cm from each other. Butter as soon as the plant reaches 30cm, then as it develops and climbs to the stake, the mound is recharged to about thirty cm.
    Provide a trellis or stakes to allow the plant to climb.
    It is also possible to start the plants in pots in a potting mix-type mixture, and set them up when frost is no longer to be feared.

  • Cultivation management: Water well at all times, especially in times of drought. The flowers will appear around the end of October-beginning of November, as it is a short-day plant.

  • Common diseases and parasites: As with ornamental nasturtium, beware of aphid attacks.

  • Harvest / productivity: Practice as for potatoes but wait until late November / early December to harvest good tubers.
    Be careful not to injure the tubers, which will easily be stored in the cellar throughout the winter. As for the flowers and young leaves, they are picked as needed.

  • In the kitchen: The tuber can be eaten raw, it is then spicy and finely peppered.
    It can also be prepared steamed for a few minutes. Its tangy flavor fades. It is then reminiscent of almond or chestnut, releasing fennel scents.
    The flowers and leaves will add color and spice to green salads.

The tuberose nasturtium, an ancient vegetable as productive as it is decorative!

Nasturtium nasturtium (Tropaeolum tuberosum) is an ancient vegetable cultivated for its edible tuber which offers excellent yields, but also for its ornamental small orange flowers. Brought up to date by fine gourmets and great chefs, the tuberose nasturtium is however still very little present in our gardens and vegetable gardens, yet it has many advantages!

A basic food and medicinal plant for the Incas!

The Tuberous Nasturtium, also called “Mashua” and “Maswallo” is a plant native to South America and mainly from Peru where it is cultivated and consumed since the dawn of time, it was part of the staple food of the Inca cuisine. ! Tubers are generally eaten like potatoes. The tangy flavor is not always appreciated, but the aroma disappears when the tubers are boiled. The tender young leaves are eaten as a green vegetable, raw or cooked. And the flowers are also eaten raw and have a sweet taste that ends on a slightly tangy tip! Tuberous nasturtium was also used medicinally, including the reputation of being anaphrodisiac. The Spanish chronicler Cobo reports that the Inca emperors made their soldiers consume tuberous nasturtiums so that they no longer had their wives in mind!

The other advantages of the tuberous nasturtium!

>>> In the vegetable garden: It is an excellent companion plant for all the other vegetables in the garden thanks to its pesticidal properties. In Colombia, the tuberous nasturtium is used as a companion plant in fields of potatoes, corn, cereals, vegetables, etc. for its active pesticides (nematocidal compounds, bactericides, insecticides).

>>> In the ornamental garden: This ancient vegetable with pretty orange flowers has foliage similar to that of annual nasturtiums. It is also a perfect climbing ornamental plant to dress up a fence! Flowers usually wait until the end of August to bloom, at the end of long peduncles. The orange-yellow petals then emerge from a red calyx with a pretty spur. In some gardens it is only used for decorative purposes!

>>> In the kitchen: It is a very popular vegetable for its taste! You use your tuber like potatoes. The young leaves are also edible and can be eaten raw in salads or cooked like green vegetables and finally the flowers are also edible surprisingly they are both sweet and slightly spicy.

How to plant, cultivate and harvest the tuberous nasturtium?

Tuberous nasturtium bulbs are planted in the spring, between April and May, depending on the region. Plant 10 cm deep, in a pot or in the ground in a sunny location and in cool, well-drained soil. To enjoy the latter longer, it is, however, possible to hasten its start, by planting the tubers in pots placed in a frost-free place, in a bright place from February or March. The planting is then done in May. When planting, space the feet about one meter in all directions, and provide a support for the stems to climb. If you have space, the tuberous nasturtium can be used as a ground cover. It grows vigorously even in poor soils and gives high yields. Indeed, a single bulb produces up to 700 g of bulbs during the year!

Tubers do not form until the end of summer, so harvest comes late. It generally takes between 5 and 6 months from planting. A plant provides many tubers which can easily reproduce if you leave any in the ground. For good conservation, it is advisable to dig them up in early autumn and keep them in the cellar, in sand. Use a spade fork and act delicately so as not to damage the tubers. Note also that harvested after passing a small jelly, the flavor of the tuberous nasturtium is enhanced.

Association ideas

Line the paths of a kitchen garden with nasturtiums and purple basil.

Send out colocynths and climbing nasturtiums to attack fences and barriers.

In a large container, combine nasturtiums and colored chard.

Tuberose nasturtium

Posted on March 20, 2011 by Isa-Marie

In the market there is a producer of ancient vegetables. His business runs with purple, red and yellow carrots, other roots of all colors, squash of all shapes, and at his place we queue to be served! There are a lot of amateurs!
Among all the unusual vegetables he offers, I found tuberous nasturtium roots. They are as big as Jerusalem artichokes, all white, almost pearly, even, they have a few large folds, in the hollow of which small dots like tiny shoots seem ready to go. When we taste this tuber its flavor is excessively peppery. It would be ideal for making a spicy condiment . This is what I was about to do. When I remembered seeing, in Stéphane Marie's book that I presented to you here , a stunning photo of exuberant tuberous nasturtiums climbing up a braided plessis, a bit in medieval style. On my tubers I looked at the little dots that seemed to be shoots more closely, and I told myself that instead of preparing condiments (here we do not really like what is strongly spicy) I was going to plant them, those strange roots. In the hope of having in my garden the same flowering as in the photo in the book. So I have prepared my wheelbarrow with soil mixed with flax straw, the roots, labels, and I walked around placing some in different places. We'll see what they like best. So I planted one in a large pot, in the morning sun, with seedlings already emerged of scabious mallow. Another at the entrance to the garden, sun all day (when there is some!), And another in a corner of the vegetable garden, which will benefit from the sun in the afternoon and in the evening. I will keep you posted on their progress. if they thrive. We'll see !
The tuberous nasturtium is a perennial plant. It is native to the Andes, where it is the base of edible resources. The flavor of its root is very peppery it disappears when cooked, and then becomes very close to the potato. It is content with poor soil, and is apparently very adaptable to all terrains. Its bloom appears lush and its countless leaves are beautifully serrated. to check !

The classic nasturtiums (here those from the garden, last year) are already very talkative, I wonder what the tuberous nasturtiums will give.

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Harvesting, conservation and use of chervil

Harvesting takes place 6 to 8 months after sowing: it can generally begin at the end of June, beginning of July when the foliage has turned yellow.

It must be stored and kept in a cellar or silo. It will be better from October, after a few months of maturation, giving it an even more delicate chestnut flavor.

The tuberous chervil is eaten in the same way as potatoes, i.e. fried, mashed, in soup, as an accompaniment to meats, etc.

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